Flames Waive O'Brien (Update: He Clears)

Kent Wilson
January 25 2014 01:00PM

 

 

I made that comment last night after Shane O'Brien needlessly gave the puck away in the Flames zone leading to the Predators 3rd goal. O'Brien played just 5 minutes versus Nashville, but ended up -3 anyways.

The puck was bouncing right for Eric Nystrom last night which helped drive the Flames defender's plus/minus down, but being a huge liability isn't anything new for O'Brien this season. No doubt his horrible performance was simply the final straw and why Calgary decided to place the slow moving rearguard on waivers today.

Every partner O'Brien has skated with this year has seen his results take a nose-dive, from Chris Butler to Dennis Wideman. The only regular defender who has a worse relative possession rate on the Flames is Ladislav Smid, and he gets fed much, much tougher assignments. No other defenseman on the club sees easier competition than O'Brien this year and he starts more shfits in the offesnive zone (55%). He only averaged about 11 minutes of ice whenever he dressed this season, which is the forward equivalent of about 6 minutes a game.

The Flames traded Cory Sarich for a worse version of Cory Sarich this past off-season. Calgary had the option a couple of summers ago to let Sarich walk as a free agent and avoid this needless and unsightly spiral into O'Brien territory, but instead Feaster made the baffling decision to re-ink Sarich for two more years. Laughingly, I have been told through back channels that the team figured they needed more grit and toughness on the blueline and Sarich was the best option at the time. This is what happens when you privilege play style over play quality.

Whatever the path to the O'Brien decision, the move today is the right one. He's not an NHL defender anymore.That said, it's too bad Burke couldn't pull a Doug Wilson and trade O'Brien for something at the deadline like the Sharks did with the equally useless Douglas Murray last year. Oh well.

UPDATE: Darren Dreger is reporting that O'Brien has cleared waivers.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Baalzamon
January 26 2014, 04:43PM
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@exsanguinator

I'm actually not convinced Schultz would make the Ducks' lineup right now.

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#52 exsanguinator
January 26 2014, 10:28PM
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Chris Breen recalled.

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#53 Avalain
January 27 2014, 09:34AM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Here;s an ideal for the draft lottery. If a team finishes last more than twice in a five year period there chances for getting the number on pick in the lottery is lessened, not eliminated. Here's an example and I'm using the current Edmonton situation as an example not as a way to pick on them. Say the Oilers finish last this year , they would have won the lottery 3 of the last 4 years and there chance to win this years lottery would be the same as this years 27th seed(I think it's Florida but am not sure) the extra points would be divided equally between the Sabres, Flames and Panthers. This would lower a repeat but still give a chance. It would rather easy to calculate.

I'm really not sure that we need to go that far. After all, they just changed the draft rules with the last CBA. 2 of the 3 1st overall picks for the Oilers were because they had a 45ish% chance at first overall by finishing last. Now the last place team has only a 25% chance. It's a big difference and we have yet to even see the last place team win the lottery since it was implemented (one year, but that's my point).

If we needed to make a change, I would rather see something like the 1st and 2nd picks are run as a lottery system. But again, they shouldn't (and won't) do anything about this until we see how the current system is working.

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#54 Kurt
January 27 2014, 09:53AM
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RexLibris wrote:

The Nordiques took three consecutive 1st overall picks in the early 90s. The Oilers were hardly breaking new ground.

This season has been an aberration in many ways (horrible regression on Dubnyk's save %, terrible puck luck, re-training players on defensive fundamentals, disappearance of the power-play, etc) and there aren't very many Oilers fans who are content to potentially see another 1st overall pick.

That aside, MacTavish has made some roster changes and one suspects that he will again be busy this summer trying to turn this roster into an NHL-worthy team.

As well, there has been some talk recently of off-season changes to the assistant coaching staff. The HCs keep changing and the result is the same, meanwhile the ACs stick around. This extends to goalie coaching and so on.

If next season is a repeat of this one then I'm not certain if anybody within the organization would be safe. Even Lowe.

I was a Nordiques fan back in the early 90s. for some reason I got obsessed with their jersey in junior high...

And let me tell you, it was WAY worse than the Oilers. Sakic was drafted in 87 and the team didn't win ANYTHING until 1995. I think there were single digit win seasons in there. They were TERRIBLE in 90, 91, 92, 93 a full 7 years into Sakic's career. The Oilers would have to suck like they are for another 3+ years to be comparable. In fact it was around now that the Nords hit ROCK BOTTOM (the Lindros saga - which was 4-5 years into their suckery)

I came to my sense and stopped cheering for them right when they moved to Colorado (and became good... sigh).

The scary thought for me now is that it worked out OK for the Nords. Those hard years turned into a powerhouse for 10+ years. Several Stanley cups, hall of famers and a perennial cup favourite for a decade were all birthed from those 3 straight 1st overalls + 4 more years of pure suck.

My hope is that the pressure mounting on mgmt in YEG forces them to do something dumb (like perhaps the Isles trading Chara & their 1st rounder - Spezza - for Yashin). Cause you'd have to think that eventually... this mgmt/coach or the next, eventually they will just get really good in spite of themselves. And that day will suck because the Oiler fans I know have bottled up 5 years of rage and are just waiting to be the cockiest SOBs in the league.

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#55 Parallex
January 27 2014, 10:07AM
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Avalain wrote:

I'm really not sure that we need to go that far. After all, they just changed the draft rules with the last CBA. 2 of the 3 1st overall picks for the Oilers were because they had a 45ish% chance at first overall by finishing last. Now the last place team has only a 25% chance. It's a big difference and we have yet to even see the last place team win the lottery since it was implemented (one year, but that's my point).

If we needed to make a change, I would rather see something like the 1st and 2nd picks are run as a lottery system. But again, they shouldn't (and won't) do anything about this until we see how the current system is working.

I'd go one step further... make ALL non-playoff teams picks lotto determined. Keep the initial percentage chances the same (getting progressively better as lotto balls are removed) but draw for picks 1-14. As it stands now teams still have a meaningful incentive to not win games after a certain point (draft range certainty) I'd be in favor of removing that certainty... finishing poorly would still give you good odds of getting a high pick but you would no longer have the certainty of having at minimum a one slot negative differential relative to your finish.

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#56 RexLibris
January 27 2014, 10:33AM
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@Kurt

Yes, the 90s Nordiques were a sight to behold.

They also traded every one of their 1st overall picks, which some in the media have suggested was key to Colorado winning the Cup the year after they moved. It didn't. They got lucky twice in getting a king's ransom for Lindros and then in acquiring Roy, and the Nordiques had some phenomenal drafting deep into the later rounds.

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